A philosophical defence of democracy: Our shared humanity is the grounding principle—and one we would do well to remember (Sasha Mudd, November 1, 2023, Prospect)

At the heart of the liberal political tradition—classically associated with Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill—is the radical claim that all human beings, just by virtue of being human, are of equal moral worth, no matter the circumstances of their birth or where they are situated in society.

The liberal tradition takes this basic moral equality to ground equal social and political rights, including the right to vote. It therefore opposes any political system—from autocracy to hereditary monarchy—that fails to show equal respect for persons by turning morally arbitrary social differences into sources of political hierarchy and oppression. People must not be dominated or treated as mere means to others’ ends, and by the same token people have a right to participate in shaping their own destiny, rather than having one imposed upon them. Importantly, this task of democratic self-rule is a collective one. It seeks to secure everyone’s equal rights and freedoms, by means of collective decision-making.

Except, of course, that the equality is derived from the Gospels and the republican liberty from Rome.